The rookie mistake to Chicago is assuming that summer is the only time to explore when in reality the fall might be better because it’s not as hot and the streets aren’t as crowded. Tours offer a great way to see Chicago when it’s too windy, feet are tired, or you want to hear from an expert. Check out these concierge-recommended tours.
Light on the Feet and Heavy on the Views
Jan Viscum, concierge at Hyatt Chicago Magnificent Mile, is a fan of Absolutely Chicago Segway Tours because it’s fun and offers a great way to cover a lot of area in a short time. With over 10 different tours, it’s not unusual to take more than one tour with Absolutely Chicago Segway Tours. There are the traditional architecture, park, and lakefront tours, but you can also take advantage of their city lights, haunted, and holiday lights tours.
For a good overview of the city, there are two great companies that provide hop-on hop-off tours. Joan
Hohs, resident concierge at MILA Chicago, likes Chicago Trolley and Double Decker Co. noting that the docents are friendly and knowledgeable, they stay on schedule, and are reliable. They have 13 stops across the city that you can hop on and off as much as you want. Jon Kasunic, concierge at Hyatt Chicago Magnificent Mile, considers Big Bus a must-do experience. They offer 14 stops downtown that visitors can also hop on and off as much as they like, and offer live guides during the tours as well.
If you weren’t able to make it to Chicago in the summer months you’re in luck because some of the boat companies still run tours into November. Susan Alexander, lead supervisor at Fashion Outlets of Chicago, believes no matter the season Wendella’s architecture tour offers an informative experience and a good time. If you’re still worried about the weather don’t worry because Wendella’s boats offer a climate-controlled lounge with large windows and speakers to still be able to hear the guide. While you’re down there take advantage of their full service bar offering beer, wine, cocktails, soft drinks, and snacks.
After you’ve seen the city on street and water level head to the sky with Chicago Helicopter Experience (CHE). John Dillon, concierge at The Ritz-Carlton, says CHE offers a unique perspective on Chicago as you take off from their private downtown heliport, fly along Lake Michigan with unobstructed views of the entire Chicago skyline, head north to Wrigley Field and then back. CHE offers daytime, sunset, and nighttime tours.
Off-The-Beaten Path Tours
With Chicago’s undeniable history, Kasunic believes no visit would be complete without going on Chicago Crime Tours. Stand at the exact spot where John Dillinger was shot, visit the location of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, peek into Frank “The Enforcer” Nitti’s secret vault and tunnels, and more.
In Chicago, the most interesting places can be under your feet and you won’t even know it. Chicago Detours helps peel the layers back with their themed tours. Beth LaBrosse, premier concierge at Reside Properties, is a fan of their Loop Interior Architecture Walking Tour that shows how downtown was formed and continues to grow. With the majority of the tour taking place inside it is perfect for all climates and an opportunity to discover the beauty of the Loop’s lobbies, corridors, and unique pedway system.